Gun groups hire new lobbyists to storm Capitol Hill

Special interests on both sides of firearm regulation debate invest in government affairs help

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A pair of gun groups — one favoring firearms control, the other opposed to it — have registered new federal lobbyists, according to U.S. Senate filings made available this afternoon.

The registrations come at a time when Congress is considering a slate of bills further regulating guns, and President Barack Obama is making firearms control a central piece of his public agenda.

The Virginia-based National Association for Gun Rights registered Christopher Kuper, its director of federal legislation, as its first-ever federal lobbyist, filings show.

Documents list "firearm background checks," "assault weapon ban" and "magazine capacity limitations" as issues on which it intends to lobby.  

The association is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that describes itself as "not a faceless D.C. based lobbying group" but  "an organized network of grassroots activists who are committed to defending the Second Amendment."

Meanwhile, the New York-based Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund added to its federal lobbying stable, tapping Maryland-based firm JBH Group to advocate on its behalf, Senate records show

Firm President Jamie Brown Hantman, a former legislative affairs special assistant to President George W. Bush and Google's first in-house lobbyist, will handle the account for the 501(c)(4) arm of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Among the issues on which Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund is registering to lobby: "developing and executing a federal legislative strategy related to legislation and regulation on gun policy" and "advocating for legislative action addressing universal background checks, military-style weapons and high capacity magazines," its filing states. 

Gun-related bills it intends to target include H.R. 137 (Fix Gun Checks Act), H.R. 138 (Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act), H.R. 437 (Assault Weapons Ban of 2013), H.R. 452 (Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013) S. 54 (Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013) S. 150 (Assault Weapons Ban of 2013) and S. 179 (Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013).

Since 2010, Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund has spent from $30,000 to $60,000 per quarter lobbying the federal government, until now using the Raben Group at its lone lobbying firm.